Similar to the ‘lights at night’ image, A History of the World in 100 Seconds provides a great discussion starter for you and your students. In the video below, the creators plot events on the map from Wikipedia, based on each year they happen. You see a large swatch of European/Middle East events, then around 1492 (someone sailing the ocean blue?), you see North America explode. I would love to still be in the classroom to discuss this, possibly as a starting activity, maybe even a test question. Interesting idea…
So I have been using the Viewsonic gTab for about a month now. What do I think of it so far? So far it works in that, have a meeting, want to carry something light mode. Other than that, I struggle as to how teachers will use these in their classrooms. Outside of a digital clipboard for taking notes, I see a tablet as clunk for a teacher, if needing to type. I tried taking mine to meetings and using a Google Doc to take notes. I do like switching it to portrait mode and typing with two fingers. When the case finally comes in, I do think that will solve many of the issues I face. Unlike the neat little kickstand on the Archos 101, the Viewsonic does not come with any type of kickstand. That feature is probably worth its weight in gold, especially in a classroom.
What I want to do in the next few posts is begin reviewing some apps I found. While not all are tightly educational, as in falling in an area of the curriculum, I my opinion they do lead to some higher level thinking.
So you want to run Android apps while on your Windows machine? Until now, that would pretty much be impossible. Enter BlueStacks. While we do not yet possess many details, and while it is in its proclaimed ‘stealth mode,’ we know that Android virtualization is here. If you use any virtualization (or you can read about it here: http://www.k12opensourceclassroom.org/?p=114) you know that you can easily try and test things on multiple operating systems. So now, or hopefully soon, we will be able to use Android apps while working on our Windows host machine. We will keep you posted!
As we see more movement to tablet computing, we will also see all kinds of reasons to put this directly into the hands of many different groups of students. One group that always seems to benefit from adaptive technology is our exceptional children. By that, I refer to students with learning disabilities, physical impairments, and behavioral concerns. Years ago I witnessed the amazing sight of seeing an autistic child who sat at the back of the room, quietly, no matter what the teacher did for the student COME OUT of his cocoon to use a SMART Board. Yes, the silent, unsocial child became engaged using the SMART Board.
So what about tablets? Could we see similar results with a ‘smaller’ screen? Many think so. I recently read an article about how nook Colors (and other tablets) could overcome many of the issues of providing these technologies. (http://community.saugususd.org/jklein/weblog/1369.html). In it, they mention how existing adaptive devices are more clunky and much more expensive:
Expensive, highly specialized, single purpose devices have long been in use in this space, in an effort to overcome issues with fine motor skills and other cognitive challenges for which traditional computing interfaces are simply ineffective.
In looking at tablets, we can place a cheaper device in a students hand, while still not losing any real loss of application. Makes a lot of sense, and considering all the sub $500.00 tablets, I think this will begin to gain a solid footing in EC departments. When you begin to look at the plethora of apps out there (the article has some good ones to choose from), definitely a win win!
Yeah, we all know how frustrating working on printers can be. Thought this would be a good way to keep it in perspective…